Thursday, July 5, 2012

5 July 2012 From both sides now…

Cassi Creek:  We live at the bottom of a creek bed which runs north > south and descends in altitude as it passes our property.  The obvious drawbacks include a shortened daylight cycle and diminished views of the passing cloud formations generated by regional and local weather.  By the time we can see a thunderstorm formation, it is nearly atop us.  This makes us quite reliant on radar loops and direct feeds for warnings.  It also makes us less likely to see some of the more dynamic, more interesting, and, frankly, more alarming cloud formations and types that appear in severe weather events. 
          Today, my wondering eyes became acquainted with a new type of cloud, not one of the basic types and subtypes that I have learned to recognize in the field over the past 52 years since I first became interested in meteorology. 

Altocumulus undulatus asperatus in Estonia.
Genus         Unknown, but examples are likely to be classified as either altocumulus or stratocumulus depending on height as asperatus is thought to be a cumuliform structure [1]
Species       Unknown, but likely to be classified as stratiformis for genera stratocumulus and altocumulus.
Variety       Unknown, but likely to be classified as undulatus or separately as asperatus.
Altitude      Below 2,000 (or higher with altocumulus) m
(Below 6,000 -or higher with altocumulus- ft)
Appearance          Wavy undersurface
Precipitation cloud?     No, but may form near storm clouds.

          Asperatus over New Zealand
I first became aware of these clouds when flying out of Kansas City International Airport the morning after landing at KCI during an outbreak of tornadoes that shut down the airport and surrounding businesses by knocking out power.  The following morning was windy and much colder.  Climbing out of KCI, I noticed a rolled pattern to the stratus blanketing the sky beneath the small commuter plane I was riding.  The photo from Estonia is a good example of what I saw from above.  I recall wondering what the view from beneath was. 
          The New Zealand photo is fascinating.  Its benign nature makes it all the more so. 
          If you care to look at other examples of unusual or severe weather clouds, try:
Mammatus clouds  over US

Rare cloud phenomenon

severe thunderstorm and tornadic clouds

Mammatus clouds 30 fascinating examples 

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